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Comments by zauche

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Posted on March 12 at 10:32 p.m.

An unsafe, over-burdened off-ramp is not my concern but a concern for the public entities which oversee our health & safety. I suggested off-site parking for employees, with a shuttle -- paid for by the hotel. You suggest a third lane, which is, indeed, a better idea. But it should not be a cost absorbed by the taxpayers. Like the suggested off-site parking suggestion, it would be a requirement of the hotel developer, a condition for approval. (It's not an uncommon cost of development. Years ago, when the car dealerships were built at Calle Real & Hitchcock, I believe the developers were required to build the off-ramp to accommodate changed traffic burdens.) My suggestion would cost a fraction of the cost of the solution you suggest, but, as I said, yours is the better idea, albeit one that would cost many millions of dollars. Would it be worth it to the developer? Maybe not. But the first death or serious injury in a car rear-ending another vehicle unexpectedly standing idle on the 101 -- and the others after that -- should not be worth it to our public officials, if they're serious about their duty to provide reasonable protection to the safety of the citizenry.

On From Miramar Ground Zero

Posted on March 12 at 8:26 a.m.

While they are busy studying the impact on parking by employee vehicles, they might also return to a concern voiced in early hearings on the project which is the burden placed on the San Ysidro off-ramp when workers are headed to the new hotel. If you drive by the off-ramp today between 7:30 am and 9:30 am, you will see that at certain periods during that stretch of time the southbound off-ramp backs up all the way down to the freeway, filled with workers and vendors probably headed to the Upper Village and surrounding homes. When the new workers are added to the mix, there will be times when the line extends well into the southbound slow lane, presenting significant accident risks. If I recall correctly, there was talk of requiring the hotel to obtain a large block of parking spaces elsewhere and to run shuttles for workers back and forth, a requirement that would also address the parking problem for the neighborhood.

On From Miramar Ground Zero

Posted on March 11 at 3:11 p.m.

In the same issue of the Independent, Barney Brantingham describes the at-large districts as "a shameful chapter of blatant discrimination that few have bothered or had the courage to challenge, including a self-satisfied City Council." It is unclear at this point whether Gerry Dewitt agrees with that conclusion.

Gerry says that, because Santa Barbara is a charter city, it would have required an election to change the districting system. In the alternative, a court action would and did accomplish the same result. It takes an attorney to file such an action, but, if the case law is as clear as Gerry says ("at-large elections are inherently discriminatory"), then the case must have not been settled quickly, keeping plaintiffs' legal fees low, but, instead, hard fought by the City, driving up those fees which the losing party would eventually have to pay, apparently, under the Voting Rights statute.

Thus, it was the City itself that drove the costs up, perhaps because the law might have not been so clear when the case was filed or perhaps because the City Council had a vested interest in keeping things the way they were. If the former, then other charter cities may benefit by coming to see a quick court settlement is the way to achieve the Legislative goal of the statute, which is fair representation, so it is not wasted money. It beats a path for other cities to follow.

If the latter, however, then it wasn't the plaintiffs or their lawyer who forced up the ante to an amount to which Gerry and most commenters object, and the electorate should take a hard look at the waste from that perspective.

There may be advantages or disadvantages to making a statutory change in the rules which govern charter cities, which Gerry might discuss in a follow-up op-ed. If a legislative change means disadvantage, then using the court to obtain a just result would then become the most attractive way to achieve the purpose. Right now, it appears to be the best way -- considering the cost of an election campaign, which is the current, rather expensive, alternative.

On California Voting Rights Act Should Not Be a Gift to Lawyers

Posted on March 11 at 3:01 p.m.

In the same issue of the Independent, Barney describes the at-large districts as "a shameful chapter of blatant discrimination that few have bothered or had the courage to challenge, including a self-satisfied City Council."

Gerry says that, because it is a charter city, it would have required an election to change the system. In the alternative, a court action would and did accomplish the same result. It takes an attorney to file such an action, but, if the case law is as clear as Gerry says ("at-large elections are inherently discriminatory"), then the case must have not been settled quickly, keeping plaintiffs' legal fees low, but hard fought by the City, driving up those fees which the losing party would eventually have to pay, apparently, under the Voting Rights statute.

Thus, it was the City itself that drove the costs up, perhaps because the law might have not been so clear when the case was filed or perhaps because the City Council had a vested interest in keeping things the way they were, If the former, then other charter cities may benefit by coming to see a quick court settlement is the way to achieve the Legislative goal of the statute, which is fair representation, so it is not wasted money.

If the latter, then it wasn't the plaintiffs or their lawyer who forced up the ante to an amount to which Gerry and most commenters object.

There may be advantages or disadvantages to making a statutory change in the rules which govern charter cities, which Gerry might discuss in a follow-up op-ed. If a legislative change means disadvantage, then using the court to obtain a just result would be the most attractive way to achieve the purpose. Right now, it appears to be the best way -- considering the cost of an election campaign, which is the current alternative.

On California Voting Rights Act Should Not Be a Gift to Lawyers

Posted on August 21 at 7:21 a.m.

It's been a long haul for Crown Castle. But the standards for review are high, as they should be, keeping Santa Barbara beautiful, so it required some negotiation to arrive at the final result. Contrary to statements by opponents, the cell reception served by these devices is terrible -- a cell phone dead zone -- and my family and our neighbors look forward to life without dropped calls. Still, it is a pity that only one oligopolist, Verizon, will use the new system, when competition (and less expensive, higher quality service) would be better served if the entire small hand full of wireless providers had been able to joint venture and then use the new antennae system for all their customers.

On Montecito Antenna Additions Approved

Posted on October 1 at 9:04 a.m.

It's "broke" all right. The congestion is real. The pollution caused by cars just standing or creeping along is real. The lost productivity of people just sitting in their cars is real. My questioning is directed at the wisdom of widening, with re-designs that impact the community, viz the congestion on Coast Village Road (a city taxing source) after Cal Trans closed the entrance by the Bird Refuge. Since they are used all over the world today, a monorail -- elevated light rail -- is hardly an unrealistic suggestion. I was surprised to learn it had not been included in the "101 In Motion" report, had not been considered and evaluated. CalTrans is a hammer. A hammer only understands one solution, slamming down on a nail. With all the time that's being consumed, why not look at other alternatives? Why not consider use of a different tool?

On Widen the 101 Now

Posted on September 29 at 6:42 p.m.

It is unlikely the Chinese are interested in widening the 101. It happens that the the longest monorail in the world is being used successfully in China to ease congestion, as is being done on most every continent around the world. Rather than widen the freeway, the existing median could be used to site the towers for the monorail, providing a light rail alternative without the need to acquire a new right-of-way. The current projected cost of the 10 miles in question could be enough to run a monorail from Ventura to Goleta. It would be economic, green, safe and fast. It was not originally considered by the 101 planners, the technology has evolved during the time delay and it might offer a more acceptable solution at the present time.

On Widen the 101 Now

Posted on September 27 at 4:34 p.m.

CalTrans planning has already harmed Montectio. It closed the on-ramp at the Bird Refuge, congesting Coast Village Road beyond its capacity, to the detriment of citizens and merchants. There is good reason to be cautious. In the "101 In Motion" 2006 final report, it was noted that, while they studied 'technologies such as AVT, APM, and PR [methods to haul autos on trains or systems used at airports] [they did] not include an elevated monorail system that uses a slender mono-beam and proven technology. That is a separate alternative. These technologies could follow an alignment along the 101 freeway corridor, or could follow the parallel Union Pacific (UP) rail corridor." Since that time, monorail systems have been built in China which demonstrate their feasibility for congestion relief similar to what is required here. See http://www.monorails.org/ for information. Since a monorail was not considered previously, it might be worth taking a look at it now, with the cost estimates now headed toward the half billion dollar range.

On Widen the 101 Now

Posted on September 27 at 9:35 a.m.

In the "101 In Motion" final report done in 2006, it noted that, while it studied 'technologies such as AVT, APM, and PR [methods to haul autos on trains or systems used at airports] [it did] not include an elevated monorail system that uses a slender mono-beam and proven technology. That is a separate alternative. These technologies could follow an alignment along the 101 freeway corridor, or could follow the parallel Union Pacific (UP) rail corridor." Since that time, monorail systems have been built in China which demonstrate their feasibility for congestion relief similar to what is required here. See http://www.monorails.org/ for information. Since a monorail was not considered previously, it might be worth taking a look at it now.

On All Growl but No Bark

Posted on September 15 at 9:44 a.m.

The fellow seems industrious. Even with the income from his meth sales, he continued to work in the great outdoors, perhaps just to have a place to keep his inventory but perhaps because he wanted to retain the psychic benefits of doing a hard day's work. Criminalization of drugs long preceded the creation of public employee unions, though the prison guards union never heard of a crime it didn't think should carry a longer sentence, It's odd to live in a police state based not upon authoritarian political philosophy but upon the simple desire of a few government employees to make a very good living from locking up their fellow citizens. If drugs were legalized (or de-criminalized), meth would still occupy a special place of concern because of its terrible effect on users, who get little or no benefit from incarceration and can continue using even in prison, thanks to smuggling conducted by . . . well, most likely, some of the keepers. What a circle.

On Summerland Meth Arrest

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